Why is AF not actually canceling flights?

Old Mar 20, 2020, 6:02 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by B0gdan
It's not withdrawn and I didn't say that - it just doesn't apply. This is extraordinary circumstance, just as in the case of weather disruptions.
This is still incorrect. There is no compensation due under Article 7 owing to extraordinary circumstances but the other provisions of the Regulation, in particular what we were primarily talking about here, namely the right to a refund, still apply.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 6:31 am
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Originally Posted by NickB
This is still incorrect. There is no compensation due under Article 7 owing to extraordinary circumstances but the other provisions of the Regulation, in particular what we were primarily talking about here, namely the right to a refund, still apply.
You're right, I should've specified. The compensation is not due to the extraordinary circumstances.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 7:15 am
  #18  
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So if compensation is not due then why not cancel the flight? I am booked on a flight which is zeroed out. I would rather have my money back then a voucher. I feel no one should be going down the EU261 route as this was really not the airlines fault. Glad they have made that clear so it doesn't waste the airlines resources at a time like this.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 7:15 am
  #19  
 
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From AF conditions of carriage, that covers the case of coronavirus. Airport taxes are paid cash, the fare is paid in voucher. so actually for the non refundable voucher they propose, the taxes should be refundable.

3.3. Force Majeure invoked by a Passenger


If a Passenger possesses a Ticket, as described in Article 3.1 (d) above, which they have not used or have partially used, and if it is impossible for them to travel for reasons of Force Majeure, as defined in Article 1, the Carrier shall issue to the Passenger a credit note corresponding to the Gross Fare (the tax amount may be refunded to the Passenger separately) for their non-refundable and/or non-modifiable Ticket, which is valid for one year, for a subsequent journey on the Carrier's flights and subject to the applicable Administration Fees, provided that the Passenger informs the Carrier as soon as possible and provides proof of such instance of Force Majeure .
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 8:12 am
  #20  
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EC261 no longer applies in case of pandemic, as ruled by the EU. So EC261 is not a likely reason (anymore).
Oh, c'mon!!!!
You know exactly that we are talking about EC261/2004 article 8 protections (free full refund, free rebooking) here - not article 7 compensations.
EC261/2004 still 100% applies.

The game Air France (and most other carriers) is playing to get around the article 8 protection. AND PLEASE: ARTICLE 8 PROTECTION CANNOT BE WAIVED AWAY DUE TO EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!!

So if compensation is not due then why not cancel the flight?
As stated before -> Air France does not want to loose cash. If AF cancels a flight they need to refund the money to the passenger. And that's what AF doesn't want to do.
AF rather wants pax to either cancel the tickets themselves (according to the ticketing rules) or that pax rebook the flight to a later date.

I am booked on a flight which is zeroed out. I would rather have my money back then a voucher.
Great! And that's the whole point of this thread. AF does not want to offer cash refunds. However, EC261/2004 (it applies 100%) mandates cash refunds.

I feel no one should be going down the EU261 route as this was really not the airlines fault.
But you need to go down the EC261/2004 route to receive a cash refund. Apparently AF tries to ignore it.

Glad they have made that clear so it doesn't waste the airlines resources at a time like this.
Do you want to get a full refund or not?
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 8:14 am
  #21  
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From AF conditions of carriage, that covers the case of coronavirus. Airport taxes are paid cash, the fare is paid in voucher. so actually for the non refundable voucher they propose, the taxes should be refundable.
That CoC provision applies when the passenger elects to cancel the ticket.
That CoC provision does not apply when the airlines cancels the flight. Then EC261/2004 article 8 kicks in. The airline needs to offer a full refund.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 8:30 am
  #22  
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If you hold tickets on a flight, there is no reason for you to cancel significantly in advance of scheduled travel. If AF cancels, then you are due a refund. If indeed AF performs the flight and you still wish to cancel, then you are subject to its contractual provisions for voluntary cancellations.

I can't think of a reason to cancel ahead unless you really do want a voucher for future use.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 8:58 am
  #23  
 
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Aside from trying to hold cash as long as possible, I suspect AF/KLM is also hoping to avoid any duty of care claims.

The recently released EU guidance on COVID-19 as it relates to EC261/2004 clarifies:
  1. No "Compensation" is due to cancellations as a result of COVID-19 as this qualifies as "extraordinary circumstances";
  2. While airlines may offer vouchers, should the airline cancel a flight, their offer of a voucher does not relieve them of their obligation to offer reimbursement of the ticket price. "If the carrier proposes a voucher, this offer cannot affect the passenger’s right to opt for reimbursement instead."
  3. Despite COVID-19 related delays or cancellations qualifying as extraordinary circumstances, this does NOT alleviate the airlines duty to provide meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time; hotel accommodation if necessary, and transport to the place of accommodation.
Finally, you have to remember that Compensation is only ever due for flights cancelled with less than 14 days notice. Hence, the guidance above actually takes away ANY incentive for airlines to actually cancel (and notify) passengers any amount of time ahead of the flight as it costs them absolutely nothing to wait to the last minute (and thus increase the chances that a passenger takes a voucher and/or finds their own way back so they don't have to issue a refund or offer any care).

Edited to add - they may also be holding out, hoping guidance is changed or that get relief in some other way. See the press release from IATA on the above guidance, expressing their disappointment that airlines continue to be obligated to issue refunds when the cancel flights and that they still have a duty of care if they cancel flights. Absolutely absurd that they think when an airline chooses (or is even forced) to cancel flights, that the consumer should be forced to take on the financial burden and credit risk of the airlines. I don't care how extreme the situation, if the airline can't get you from A to B as agreed (within reason) you should ALWAYS be able to get a refund.

https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-03-18-01/

Last edited by ocdb8r; Mar 20, 2020 at 10:13 am Reason: Added detail on new IATA Press Release
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 9:28 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by warakorn
That CoC provision applies when the passenger elects to cancel the ticket.
That CoC provision does not apply when the airlines cancels the flight. Then EC261/2004 article 8 kicks in. The airline needs to offer a full refund.
Exactly. And the EC261/2004 is referred to in the AF conditions of carriage in case of irregular operations.
What I meant is that the coronavirus can be deemed force majeure by the passengers and it is part of the conditions of carriage by default. What AF is doing extra is to waive the possible administrative fees. What they are trying to avoid: to pay back the taxes in cash on non refundable tickets cancelled by the passenger.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by ranskis
Exactly. And the EC261/2004 is referred to in the AF conditions of carriage in case of irregular operations.
What I meant is that the coronavirus can be deemed force majeure by the passengers and it is part of the conditions of carriage by default. What AF is doing extra is to waive the possible administrative fees. What they are trying to avoid: to pay back the taxes in cash on non refundable tickets cancelled by the passenger.
Force majeure on the passenger side is something that happens to you, not the airline itself. I guess this is what they would use to argue that if you are barred from traveling somewhere, but flights are still going, they will only give you a voucher. Like if I had a ticket to go to JFK on one of the non-cancelled flights.

If the flight is cancelled, for whatever reason, force majeure doesn't apply to refunds. At all. Pax side or airline side.

On the airline side, force majeure only means that they can avoid paying compensation, which is, in this instance, all well and good.

I, too, am wondering about the duty to care. I would agree that this is probably disproportionately unfair to the airlines given the situation. I wonder if the duty could be partially picked up by the governments, which would let them provide some assistance not only to the airlines, but also to the ailing hotel industry.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 12:48 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by NickB
There seems to be an assumption here that the only reason why airlines have an obligation to reimburse your ticket when the flight is cancelled is Regulation 261/2004. That simply is not the case. As a rule, where the airline does not perform the contract, they have to return your money (and possibly pay damages in some circumstances) by ordinary application of contract law and/or local consumer protection law. In some cases, airlines to include provisions in the contract that place limits/conditions in their terms of carriage to their refunding a ticket and in some jurisdictions where there is no or very weak consumer protection law, these clauses may well be valid; there are also situations where, in some jurisdictions, the law on frustration (i.e. on the unenforceability of contracts in case of force majeure) may also produce similar effects but this should not be assumed to be a universal or even a predominant situation. The default would tend to be rather the reverse, namely an obligation on the airline to return monies already paid in case it refuses or is unable to perform the contract.
BRAVO. This is the basic tenet. Service paid but not rendered. There is no justification whatsoever for them to hold onto money if they don't intend to provide the services.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 12:52 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by ranskis
Exactly. And the EC261/2004 is referred to in the AF conditions of carriage in case of irregular operations.
What I meant is that the coronavirus can be deemed force majeure by the passengers and it is part of the conditions of carriage by default. What AF is doing extra is to waive the possible administrative fees. What they are trying to avoid: to pay back the taxes in cash on non refundable tickets cancelled by the passenger.
I really don't care about any additional compensation from EC261/2004. I wouldn't seek it because it isn't their fault.
That said, I do believe we are owed refunds-- and not vouchers-- if flights are canceled. Enough of this game playing. Although I regret this situation, I should have no obligation, explicit or implicit, to be financing AF's operations.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 4:34 pm
  #28  
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Exactly -> hence, it's probably going to be a credit chargeback.
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 5:26 pm
  #29  
 
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Wait until you get the voucher: it might be a refundable voucher because issuing a refundable voucher might be less complex than processing a refund (which needs to be on the same credit card against a past transaction that needs to be identified etc. A voucher is issued against a ticket and they have the ticket information more easily available. I had it once when I changed an AF ticket and a difference was due to me: I was issued a refundable voucher, which I asked later to get refunded on my credit card.
I have not read anywhere that for cancelled flights a non-refundable voucher would be issued.
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Old Mar 21, 2020, 6:07 am
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Originally Posted by ranskis
Wait until you get the voucher: it might be a refundable voucher...
I received an EMD receipt.
According to this, it is non-refundable and can only be used towards payment of a new ticket:
https://www.klm.com/travel/es_en/cus...itions/EMD.htm
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